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Pike Wins First Regional Title Since 2003
March 16, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - Central Indiana
By DAMANI DICKERSON
For VYPE Magazine
The Pike Red Devils had a little more left in the tank and outlasted the Terre Haute North Patriots to win the battle of attrition in the two-games-in-one-day regional format Saturday night at Historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Pike (17-7) defeated Terre Haute North (20-7) to advance to semistate 66-48. It’s the Red Devils' first regional title since 2003.
“Longest day of my life, I was cramping up, but I got through it,” Pike senior guard RJ Hunter said following the game. “Great feeling.”
The Red Devils were led by their outstanding backcourt of Hunter and junior guard Zavier Turner. Hunter finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Turner added 14 points and four assist.
“Those two guys are two of the better guards in the state,” Pike head coach Bill Zych said. “They play together. They play well together. They incorporate their teammates and that’s what we ask them to do.”
The Patriots came out sharp and took an early lead. Midway through the first period the Red Devils went on a 12-0 run to take control of the game. By the end of the first half Pike was ahead 27-17 and scored 11 points off 10 Terre Haute North turnovers.
“We turned the ball over to much which led to some transition baskets for them,” Terre Haute North head coach Todd Woelfle said about his team’s first-half performance. “Pike’s really good when they get out in the open floor.”
The Patriots regrouped at the half and got themselves back into the game behind the play of senior forward Matthew O’Leary who scored 10 of his game high 20 points in the third quarter. He also led them in rebounding with five.
Terre Haute North outscored Pike 22-13 in the third quarter and a late 9-0 run to end the period brought the Patriots within one going into the final period 40-39.
“We had guys trying to make plays that weren’t there. We had guys doing things that they shouldn’t do,” Zych said about Terre Haute North’s third quarter surge. “I was going to call timeout. We just knew we had to get to the fourth quarter and we’d pull it out.”
The final period was all Pike. The Red Devils started the fourth with an 11-0 run that quickly put them back ahead by double figures. That’s when Turner took control of the game. After regaining a comfortable lead he facilitated the spread offense, kept possession and knocked down free throws when sent to the line.
His speed and quickness were just too much for the Patriots to handle.
“I don’t know if there’s anybody that can stay in front of that kid,” Zych said. “He’s very good with the basketball and very quick.”
Turner gave his coach credit for preparing him for situation just like this.
“It was just time and possession,” he said. “Coach Zych stresses to me all the time about being a good point guard and being a good point guard is all about time and possession.”
The Patriots didn’t score their first fourth-quarter bucket until just over three minutes remained in regulation and were outscored 26-9 in the final period.
Pike was 19-of-23 from the charity stripe in the second half and 22-of-31 on the night. Terre Haute North was just 5-of-12 from the free-throw line.